Let’s talk about my least favorite thing in the world: Branding!
It’s quite possibly the most boring and inane concept to really talk about, especially when the conversation takes place in corporate doubletalk. (Have you seen the Nike powerpoint slides they use to introduce Brand to big university athletic departments? It’s a digital sleep drug) But deep down, when you strip off the MBA bullshit speak, it’s kind of sinister.
Taco Bell realized that their sales are tanking, so what did they do? BRAND. They opened a restaurant called US Taco Co. No visual connection to Taco Bell. Stupid goofy taco names on their menu like “The One Percenter” (lobster taco). Like magic, people start to come to this new Taco Bell and decide they like it. It’s Taco Bell but it isn’t, and the power of BRAND helps to cover the tracks, and all of a sudden people are stuffing their face with rerouted tacos. It’s working so well, there was even a rumor that there was a US Taco Co coming to the heart of Chicago’s hipster paradise, Wicker Park, right on Milwaukee Ave. Close enough to compete with the traditional drunk taco shack Big Star.
McDonald’s is in deep shit too, even worse than Taco Bell. Sales are down, employees want to be paid like real people instead of numbers on an overhead sheet, no one wants to eat their antibiotic meat. And it seems like every two weeks someone finds a chicken head in their nuggets. Here comes BRAND to save the sinking ship: a burger joint in Australia called “The Corner.” And it’s working.
Be on your guard. BRAND works, even if you pride yourself on not being fooled by corporate schemes. Especially if you pride yourself on not being fooled by corporate schemes. And drunk you doesn’t care if your tacos are actually indie. The marketing people are determined to crack every demographic, and the group that defines themselves by being DIY, independent and anti-big business is seen as a challenge, not a deterrent. Make sure your only big company purchase is PBR.